Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again

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Audio description: 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962

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Narrator: Campbell’s Soup Cans, a work from 1962, consists of thirty-two canvases. Each is twenty by-sixteen-inches. Here, they’re hung in four rows of eight. But the work could be installed in other configurations. 

Warhol made the paintings using casein, acrylic, and graphite. The general format of all the canvases is the same. Each one depicts a large can of Campbell’s soup against a white backdrop. The top half of each can’s label is red, and the lower half is white, bridged in the center by a small gold emblem. Below the can’s silver rim the name “Campbell’s” is written in white italic cursive with a thin black shadow. Centered below the brand name, written in smaller white all-caps, is the word “condensed.” The lower half of the label is white. On each canvas, two lines of red text announce the variety of soup in uppercase letters. At the bottom of the can, centered between rows of golden fleurs-de-lis, is the word “soup’”in black and gold letters.

The most obvious difference between the paintings is the text identifying the flavors of soup—each of the thirty-two canvases represents a different variety. There’s chicken noodle, split pea with ham, tomato, and pepper pot, among others. One image, depicting Cheddar Cheese soup, also bears little banners declaring that it’s “NEW!” and “Great as a sauce, too!” On close inspection, it becomes evident that the canvases are painted by hand. The reds vary slightly from painting to painting. The metal rims at the top and bottom of each can are also subtly different from the next. They are all rendered in black-and-white lines, with an almost cartoonish graphic quality. Warhol has made some of these lines thicker and others thinner, as though each can were reflecting the light in a slightly different way. 

A grid of individually framed Campbell's Soup paintings by Andy Warhol

Narrator: Campbell’s Soup Cans, a work from 1962, consists of thirty-two canvases. Each is twenty by-sixteen-inches. Here, they’re hung in four rows of eight. But the work could be installed in other configurations. 

Warhol made the paintings using casein, acrylic, and graphite. The general format of all the canvases is the same. Each one depicts a large can of Campbell’s soup against a white backdrop. The top half of each can’s label is red, and the lower half is white, bridged in the center by a small gold emblem. Below the can’s silver rim the name “Campbell’s” is written in white italic cursive with a thin black shadow. Centered below the brand name, written in smaller white all-caps, is the word “condensed.” The lower half of the label is white. On each canvas, two lines of red text announce the variety of soup in uppercase letters. At the bottom of the can, centered between rows of golden fleurs-de-lis, is the word “soup’”in black and gold letters.

The most obvious difference between the paintings is the text identifying the flavors of soup—each of the thirty-two canvases represents a different variety. There’s chicken noodle, split pea with ham, tomato, and pepper pot, among others. One image, depicting Cheddar Cheese soup, also bears little banners declaring that it’s “NEW!” and “Great as a sauce, too!” On close inspection, it becomes evident that the canvases are painted by hand. The reds vary slightly from painting to painting. The metal rims at the top and bottom of each can are also subtly different from the next. They are all rendered in black-and-white lines, with an almost cartoonish graphic quality. Warhol has made some of these lines thicker and others thinner, as though each can were reflecting the light in a slightly different way. 


Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962. Casein, acrylic, and graphite on linen, thirty two panels: 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.6 cm) each. The Museum of Modern Art, New York; partial gift of Irving Blum, additional funding provided by Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest, gift of Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund, gift of Nina and Gordon Bunshaft in honor of Henry Moore, acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest, Philip Johnson Fund, Frances R. Keech Bequest, gift of Mrs. Bliss Parkinson, and Florence B. Wesley Bequest (all by exchange) 476.1996.1–32. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York